In every NFL matchup, there are a seemingly endless amount of angles to analyze. It’s hard to get to them all during the week of practice, and I’m sure there were some that slipped through the cracks despite all of the Vikings vs. Steelers preview content we provided on vikings.com this week.
As we sit here just hours before the Vikings take on Pittsburgh in London, I thought I’d try to cover a few more bases and provide a few final thoughts on the Vikings game against the Steelers today.
-- For those of you distraught with the Vikings 0-3 start to the season and for those of you who’ve already begun thinking about the offseason and 2014, hold the phone for a second and consider this: There are only five teams in the NFC with winning records, and 10 of the NFC’s 16 teams have one or zero wins. This doesn’t excuse the team’s 0-3 start, but it does lend some perspective to the situation and it reaffirms that while the start has been disheartening, there’s still a long way to go. A win today against Pittsburgh would be a good way to start the climb back up the mountain.
-- I am sensing that this week’s matchup with the Steelers is going to provide the Vikings with an opportunity to get the ground game going. For starters, Pro Bowl fullback
-- Speaking of the Vikings running game, don’t fret the “slow” start for
-- My number one concern for the Vikings defense heading into this game is the speed of Pittsburgh’s wide receivers. With Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Markus Wheaton, the Steelers have as fast a trio of receivers as anyone in the NFL. A healthy secondary would be challenged by this group, and the Vikings enter today’s game down two starters and short on depth. To me, this means the Vikings defensive line must step up and play big. The Vikings have invested heavily in their defensive line, particularly at defensive end with
-- Last point – the bye week. When the schedule came out, we complained about the first month or so for the Vikings. Starting out with consecutive road games within the division and then traveling to London in Week 4 for a “home” game meant the Vikings would be on the road for three of their first four regular season games. On top of it all, they got the dreaded early-season bye, which most teams and players don’t appreciate. But as it turns out, the Vikings are going to have a well-timed bye. After a week away from home to regroup and hopefully a tough, gritty win against a good team here in London, the Vikings have a chance to take a bye to rest, heal and regroup for what will be a challenging final 12 weeks of the season.